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When it is in the body, does it matter if vitamin C has peviously been heat-treated? Can the body still use it?

For instance, if vitamin C is added to 90 degree celsius water does it matter if you drink all of the water? Will you still gain the vitamin C?

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Disclaimer: the denaturation is the process of protein unfolding from their native state. Since vitamin C is not a protein, it cannot denaturate. I think that the word you're looking for is simply "degradation".

Vitamin C can exist either in its reduced form L-ascorbic acid (L-AA) or in the oxidised form dehydroascorbic acid (DHAA). The active (antioxidant) form of vitamin C is the former; however, there are enzymes in our body that can convert DHAA back into L-AA.

In this article, the authors seek to evaluate the thermal stability of both L-AA and DHAA in broccoli. Their results are the following.

Thermal treatments (for 15 min) of crushed broccoli at 30 to 60 degrees C resulted in conversion of l-AA to DHAA whereas treatments at 70 to 90 degrees C retained vitamin C as l-AA.

So, cooking the vitamin C does not alter its structure and your body will still be able to use it. Another reason to eat broccoli, I guess.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for this information. This is exactly the response I was hoping to get. $\endgroup$ – Mikkel Jan 12 '18 at 11:40

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